Thirteen million packs of cigarettes are consumed by children each year in Wisconsin — roughly $91 million per year in sales revenue for the tobacco industry.
It’s obvious why tobacco companies filed a suit that blocks a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies to put graphic images — including dead and diseased smokers — on their cigarette packages next year.
The graphic warnings were mandated by a bipartisan majority of lawmakers and relied on extensive records showing that the current, text-only warnings are unnoticed and stale.
In Wisconsin, Big Tobacco spends $233 million to play down the health risks of smoking and glamorize tobacco use. Big Tobacco hides its deadly products behind colorful packaging and candy flavors that are confusing to kids.
These new warnings tell the truth about how deadly and unglamorous cigarette smoking truly is. The new warnings provide a powerful incentive for smokers to take the life-saving step of quitting and for kids never to try that first cigarette.
But if preventing teens from smoking isn’t enough, Wisconsin residents spend $586 per household in state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures.
Any delay in forcing tobacco companies to display graphic warnings will only serve the interests of the tobacco industry selling more of its addictive and deadly products.